How IQ tests are used by employers to select job candidates

IQ tests are used by employers from various organizations and industries to predict the success and competency levels of their candidates. While a candidate may provide a resume with information regarding their previous work experience and references, an IQ test can equip employers with all the vital information they need in a relatively quick and easy way. The more information an employee has about a candidate, the better the chances of choosing the right person. Many recruiters use IQ tests during the selection process and consider them a significant source of information to determine which career is best suited to that candidate’s IQ level. There is research to suggest that IQ tests, as well as career aptitude tests, can provide employers with information about a potential candidate’s abilities, as well as provide valuable insight into an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. This, however, is only useful if the employer or recruiter fully understands what an IQ test can measure.

Woman waiting to take career aptitude test

How does a career aptitude test compare to an IQ test?

Unlike IQ tests, career aptitude tests are designed specifically to assess which profession(s) a person is suited to and which skills they are capable of learning—providing they have adequate access to education or instruction. A career aptitude test assesses a person’s level of ability to perform certain tasks. Such tests are often used in both academic and career environments. High school students, for example, often take a variety of aptitude tests to help them determine what they need to study in college, or which careers they might be most interested in/suited to in future.

An IQ test, however, provides an indication of general intelligence, particularly in terms of their mathematical and analytical skills, spatial reasoning abilities, and verbal comprehension. It gives an employer a picture of a candidate’s overall ability to think logically, solve problems, and tackle different challenges. IQ testing has been used by employers for years to gain insight into a candidate’s overall intelligence and is assessed separately from their professional experience. It can also be a predictor of long-term success in the workplace.

Careers suited to IQ levels

What does science say about intelligence and predicting business success?

High intelligence and its connection with success in business is a fascinating subject—and there has been much research on the connection between the two over the years. The findings obtained (see below) has led to many employers using IQ tests to determine the best candidates for the job:

  • Intelligence predicts success in a chosen occupation better than any other ability, trait or personality trait—even better than previous work experience.
  • The more experience an employee has, the better their IQ level can predict business success. If, for example, an employer is unsure which person to choose, when faced with two experienced candidates, an IQ test, in this case, can be a useful tool to help them decide.
  • Intelligence predicts the trainability of a candidate. IQ tests are therefore valuable to employers when looking for quick learners.
  • People with higher IQs learn and acquire new information faster, which helps them adapt quickly to new situations.
  • People with a greater intellectual capacity can successfully perform jobs that require fewer resources. However, employees with lower intellectual potential may find it difficult to cope with complex tasks. So, when it comes to complex jobs, intelligence is an important predictor.
  • The IQ test is used by employers for employee development and advancement; those with higher intellectual abilities have been found to climb the hierarchical ladder faster than those with lower abilities.

When hiring an individual, career aptitude tests, IQ tests, and various other intelligence tests can provide invaluable information on that candidates capabilities and suitability—however, there are of course many other factors that need to be considered, including their experience and fit to the company’s culture.

Careers associated with IQ ranges

There are some occupations that require an individual to do more than just manage their daily tasks. Employers are always looking for individuals who are able to develop new strategies and methods to improve workflow. The IQ test is used by some employers to sort the candidates with high IQ levels from the candidates with low IQ levels. This is especially useful when hiring for positions that require certain skills.Employers using IQ tests

Based on research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the Center for Demography and Ecology, the following IQ ranges are closely associated these careers:

Occupations based on IQ scores of 110+

Doctor, lawyer, electrical engineer, college professor, IT professional, people working in natural sciences (physics, math, biology)

Occupations based on IQ scores of 100+

Teacher, counselor, police officer, salesman, clerical and accounts related jobs, real estate agent, nurse, managers, service workers.

Occupations based on IQ scores of 90+

Draftsman, surveyor, farm laborer, truck driver, carpenter, mechanic, assembler, plumber, craftsman, electrician.